Last week was a very busy week in Springfield as both houses of the Illinois legislature approved a controversial school funding measure that has been strongly criticized as a bailout for Chicago Schools.

A number of area elected officials said Stateline schools will end being on short end of the bargain if the governor signs the measure that passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate last week. SB 1 is a education finance reform bill that would require Illinois to adopt an “evidence-based” funding program. The bill was intended to change the education funding formula so that more money spent on education over the coming years.

The problem is the way the money is to be allocated to schools around Illinois. Not everyone is getting the same benefit. Senator Dave Syverson (R) of Rockford said the net increase in spending per student would amount to :

  • Hononegah $98
  • Harlem Schools $99
  • Rockford $193
  • Chicago $1,350 increase (70% of all new money)

Yikes, looks like Chicago gets all the money and the Stateline is left in the dust.

According to Syvreson:

Chicago the City with lowest property taxes in Illinois  Chicago who has 19% of students who currently get 34% of state education funding will get even more. Governor Rauner needs to veto this for a fair bill that is affordable.

Rockford Senator Steve Stadelman (D) explained his support of the measure:

The General Assembly approved a bill to make the school funding formula more equitable so that more money goes to the neediest school districts across the state including Rockford. The plan will direct any additional money put toward K-12 education in the future to districts most in need, such as those with high concentrations of students from low-income families and low property values. The Rockford School district would receive an additional $5 million. For political purposes, some have called the bill a "Chicago bailout."

Sen Tim Bivens (R) explains his opposition

Four or five years ago Speaker Madigan said locals would have to pay more for education funding "there is no free lunch." We proved by the numbers that indeed there was a free lunch and Chicago was getting it. The senate democrats even agreed which prompted the bipartisan committee to come up with a plan for education funding reform. Negotiations continued until they (democrats) decided to go it alone submitting a plan that gave Chicago an even bigger piece of the education pie, approximately 70%. This bill was a huge bailout for Chicago. So not only were they getting a free lunch but with this bill they also got breakfast and dinner.

 

So how did you local representatives vote?

One of four of our area Illinois State senators voted for the Chicago School bailout.

  • Sen Bivens (R – Dixon)  Voted NO
  • Sen Syverson (R – Rockford) Voted NO
  • Sen Stadelman  (D – Rockford) Voted YES
  • Sen Altholf (R – McHenry) Voted NO

One of our area Illinois House members voted in favor of the Chicago School bailout.

  • John Cabello (R - Rockford): NO
  • Bob Pritchard (R- Sycamore) : DID NOT VOTE
  • Joe Sosnowski (R - Rockford): NO
  • Tom Demmer (R  Dixon): NO
  • Brian Stewart (D - Freeport): NO
  • Litesa Wallace (D - Rockford): YES

You can see how each member of the Illinois legislature voted HERE.

Senator Syverson issued a full statement on the bailout, which you can read HERE.

The Illinois Policy Institute argues the measure State lawmakers are forcing downstate taxpayers to bail out Chicago after more than 20 years of district mismanagement, skipped pension payments, excessive borrowing and unaffordable teacher contracts.

Net result, if you live in the Stateline, more of your money will go to Chicago Schools, as opposed to the schools here in the Stateline.Governor Rauner has not announced whether he will sign the measure.

Catch Mark Charvat on Q98.5 from 3 p.m to 7 p.m.. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook